The Gorilla Shouldn’t Have Been Killed, But It’s Not The Zoo’s Fault

A 17-year-old Silver Back Gorilla Was Shot and Killed at the Cincinnati Zoo After a Child Climbed Into His Enclosure.

I’m sure you’ve seen the headlines and the frightening video onlookers shot of the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo when officials were forced to shoot Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla.  It’s all over the news.

Here’s a recap.



My personal feelings are that I’m so mad. And sad too.

First of all, I am an animal lover, and a parent of small kids. On the animal-lover side, I have some favorites:  dogs, cats, and gorillas.  Yes, gorillas rank right up there for me. They are amazing creatures. So human-like. Full of personality. I am amazed by gorillas. Our zoo has a great gorilla habitat where I can spend days just watching them. I once watched a momma gorilla snuggle her baby, just like a human mommy.  She was patting the baby gorilla’s back like she was burping her. I also watched a young gorilla (think teenager), pick his nose, eat it, and when the crowd watching him all yelled, “Ewwwww”, he belly-laughed, rolling on the ground and pointing at the crowd.  He then stood up and picked his nose again. He realized he had an audience.  Gorillas have compassion, love, and senses of humor.  They are amazing creatures.


Being a fan of gorillas, I probably don’t need to say why the situation that happened this weekend really upset me.  My first instinct was being very angry that they killed Harambe.  The first videos released were edited so “disturbing parts” weren’t shown.  But when the internet exploded with outrage, they released those.  And I’m glad they did because it makes it clearer that tranquilizing him wasn’t an option.  I’m not convinced he was going to hurt that child (at some points it looks like he’s actually protecting him).  But I can tell he freaked out that something fell into his home and he didn’t know what to do about it. The onlookers all screaming didn’t help the situation. He became agitated very quickly. And at that point he became unpredictable.  Unpredictable, but the fact is still that the gorilla did nothing wrong. NOTHING. He was a gorilla, simply being a gorilla, guarding his family and his home.

Unfortunately though, with a child’s life on the line, the zoo officials had no choice.

Jungle Jack Hanna agrees too…  Watch here.



“Seeing the entire video of him dragging the child is scary to watch and shows me that zoo officials had to come to a tough decision.  The unpredictability of the situation, with a child’s life in jeopardy, left them no choice.”


BUT, and here’s why I’m pissed…. the video doesn’t change a single thing about the fact that a kid at a zoo shouldn’t be able to go “under a rail, through wires and over a moat wall”, without his parents noticing.  As a parent myself, I am hesitant to ever judge another parent.  Ever.  We all love our kids and are doing the best we can.  And we’ve all had moments where we’ve screwed up.  But come on.  This one is tough to excuse.


Animal Biologist Jeff Corwin gave a great interview saying “a zoo is not a babysitter”, and that “parents have a responsibility to watch their kids everywhere they go”.  There are a lot of parents who don’t feel the weight of that responsibility.  It’s a different story if you lose sight of your kids at the local Piggly Wiggly. That has its own dangers.

At a zoo though, you are not only endangering your own children’s lives but the animals’ lives too.  And this weekend, an innocent animal’s life had to be taken because of that negligence. An endangered animal, who did NOTHING WRONG.

That’s the part that makes me sad.  It didn’t have to happen.  And it shouldn’t have happened.


I’m not the only person mad…

So far, nearly 100,000 supporters have signed up to a campaign on calling for the parents to be investigated after the child fell up to 12 feet into the enclosure. The petition reads: “This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child. We the undersigned believe that the child would not have been able to enter the enclosure under proper parental supervision.”

Also, Police are deciding whether to charge the parents with child neglect.


What do you think about this situation?  


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Why I Don’t Answer The Phone

Friends and family sometime complain that I never answer my phone. There is a very simple reason why.

The short answer: BECAUSE I HAVE CHILDREN.


Read this mom’s explanation.  I love it because I feel the same.

She summed it up perfectly. Don’t expect me to answer the phone and have a QUIET conversation with you, if my kids are home.

Even though my kids are a little older than that mom’s kids, I can tell you that it NEVER CHANGES. The house is voicemailloud, the kids need me all the time, and I can’t hold a thought for more than 30 seconds.

A nice quiet conversation on the phone just doesn’t happen. The minute I pick up the phone, my kids desperately “need” me. Right that minute.

In addition to my kids, I also have 3 dogs (who all bark in unison every time a car drives by, or a squirrel climbs a tree, or a bird flies…). So even when the kids are at school, my dogs take over.

Common things yelled at my house are…

“Mom, where’s my sweatshirt?”

“MOMMMM-EEEEEE, I lost my train!!!!”

“Mommy, I pooped, come wipe my tushy”

“I’m Hungry”

“I’m Thirsty”

“I’m BORED!”

“MOMMY, the dog just threw up on the rug”

This is on a daily basis, whether I am speaking on the phone or not.  So I usually choose NOT to be on the phone.  Answering the phone and having an intelligent conversation doesn’t work so well.  Or end so well…  the promises I have made while “shushing” my kids, are ridiculous. “What? When did I say I’d buy you a TV for your room?” 

My other issue is having the callers complain that I am not focused on them.  UH, you’re right, I’m not!  I’m sorry but my kids want all of my attention.

So please, before you dial my number, understand that I probably won’t answer.  And just text me instead. Or email me.  I like email.  And if I do answer, please understand I may only be half listening.

♥ ♥ ♥

I’m just a mom trying to keep my sanity.



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Seriously, Just Go The F**k To Sleep


Most kids haven’t yet learned the full value of sleep. The important preciousness of catching your much needed zzzzzzz’s. So kids fight against going to sleep. Every single night.

I admit, I struggle with bedtime. I am home alone every evening with my kids and each night feels like the movie, “Groundhog Day”. I repeat the same routine every night.  I do baths, brush little teeth, read a couple books, say prayers… basically, I cover every single bedtime ritual those damn parenting books told me to.  Then kisses and hugs goodnight and I tiptoe down the stairs.

And every night, the minute my feet hit the bottom step, I hear, “MOMMMMMMMM-EEEEEEEEEE”.

“Yes?”, I call.

“I’m lonely”, the little voice upstairs says.

“It’s okay, I am right downstairs, don’t feel lonely, get some sleep”.

“Okay”, the cute little voice says. And I hear them hop in bed.

About 20 seconds later…. “MOMMMMMMMM-EEEEEEEEEEE”.

“I’m thirsty”

“I’m cold”

“I’m hot”

“I’m awake”

“I’m not tired”

“I’m hungry”

“I’m full”

“I’m scared”


This happens every, single, night.

I stay calm and go back upstairs and soothe the child having trouble falling asleep.

But honestly, every single night, I really want to yell, “JUST GO THE F**K TO SLEEP!”  Admit it, every mom out there knows exactly how I feel!

So when I stumbled upon this awesome book-reading by actress Jennifer Garner, I was thrilled to discover I am not alone. I did a little research and discovered it’s actually a very popular book among parents…


“I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullshit. Stop lying.”

“Lie the F**k down, my darling, and sleep”.

You have to watch this video if you haven’t already. I love it….

“Go the F**k to Sleep”, read by Jennifer Garner:



Now I don’t feel so bad saying, PLEASE, kids, just GO THE F**K TO SLEEP!  lol








Important Disclaimer:  I will not be reading this book TO my kids. But it does make me feel a lot better to know I am not the only mom who wants to!  ~Cindie


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That Moment When You Realize You Traded Your Sanity For…

That moment when you realize you traded your sanity for…Your Children!

When you are lucky enough to have children, you give them your “all”. You commit fully. And doing that often means losing every ounce of sanity you may have had left.

It happens to each and every parent.

It’s a fair trade, though… your brain cells in return for these amazing little people.

Inevitably though, there is that moment when you realize they have sucked all the sanity, right out of your brain.



My first moment of awareness (and I have had many more since!) came when I sent my kindergartener to school in an adorable penguin nightgown… for “pajama day” at school.  I had a baby at home who wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t sleeping. We had just moved from another state, and I was struggling to figure out everything going on at our new elementary school. I was trying very hard to fit in and meet new families and do everything “right”.

So when I got a note from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher saying THURSDAY, MARCH 3rd would be “Pajama Day” at school, I thought, “How fun”!

On Wednesday evening, my daughter and I picked out her favorite pajamas (the penguin nightgown was her choice). I took photos as she got on the bus, in her penguin nightgown and matching slippers! She looked so cute.

Fast-forward to the end of the school day. My daughter got off the bus and said (no, she yelled), “Mommy, guess what?”. “TOMORROW is pajama day. Not today”!  Yep, I sent her to school in her nightgown.  The poor kid walked around all day… class, recess, lunch… in her nightgown!  NO!  She must be wrong, I thought. I ran inside the house and found the letter and sure enough, it said, FRIDAY, MARCH 3rd!  F*&K!  (I actually yelled, “FUDGE!”).

That was the first moment I realized I had officially lost my mind. My kids had stolen every single brain cell left in my head. I knew WHY it happened…  there was way too much swirling around inside my brain, and too little sleep, to actually remember it all.

I apologized to my daughter and together we picked out another pajama outfit for the next day. I was relieved she was just 5 years-old, and not any older because she was pretty unfazed. I am sure a 4th grader would’ve been completely traumatized by it. But thankfully my kindergartener said sweetly, “it’s okay Mommy, I was actually really comfy in my nightgown all day”.

And that was the moment I decided to embrace the insanity of motherhood. Why? Because I knew it would happen again. My brain cells would keep disappearing into those vast depths of parenthood.

But then, I had a revelation… My little sanity-suckers may have caused many of my brain cells to disappear, but they have also made my HEART grow 10 times in size.

And you know what? I consider that to be a very fair trade.  ♥




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Questions To Ask Before A Playdate: Do You Own A Gun?

When arranging my kids’ playdates, I never ask the question – “Do you have a gun in your house?”

But I’m beginning to think I should start asking that question. Though I imagine it to be an awkward conversation, it is without a doubt, an important one.

One reason I think I need to begin asking is because my 6-year old came home from school last week and announced that a friend in his class told him that his dad has a gun. In their house.

Wow, I thought. Here’s another parenthood challenge to deal with. Guns.

I have repeatedly expressed my feelings about guns to my two children. Personally, I think guns are dangerous. I think guns are unnecessary. Without going into a debate about guns and the 2nd Amendment, and how guns are used for hunting and safety and whatever else you choose… I still personally think that guns should be off-limits to most people.

I’ve made a point of not having toy guns in our house. Nerf guns, water pistols, BB guns… No gun-like toys. Nothing that “shoots”. Please don’t think I’m depriving my kids of any fun. They have plenty of toys, just nothing that will make them think that guns are cool. And definitely, no toys that glamorize shooting another person.

So when my son received a nerf-type shooting gun for Christmas this year (not from Santa!), I was very surprised that he immediately ran around the house shooting at everyone while yelling, “you’re DEAD”!  “Put your hands in the air – BANG, you’re dead”.  He didn’t shoot the target included with it, but instead, he was shooting people. In the head.


Photo Credit: The Washington Post

That’s when we had a sit-down conversation about what a real gun actually does. And what “dead” really means, and just how dangerous real guns can be.

And that is when my son told me about his classmate’s announcement.

Sidenote: This is a great time to add that I am a very non-judgemental person. If your family has different beliefs than mine… great.  I don’t think any less of you. I respect everyone. But the safety of my children is non-negotiable. And do I want my kids exposed to a potentially deadly weapon that may look like a toy? That they may think is “cool”. My answer is a big NO.

My son’s announcement was honestly the first time I thought about the fact that my kids could potentially go to play at a friend’s house and have a horrible scenario occur. “Hey, let’s look at my dad’s gun… I know where he keeps it.” Or, “let’s play with my dad’s toy gun”. Because even scarier is that some guns are actually designed to look like toys. Unbelievable, I know. But true. Take a look here.

I am well aware of the fact that the combination of kids & guns has resulted in countless tragedies. So my recent realization that kids are intrigued with guns has made me realize that it may be necessary to ask potential playdate families – “Do you have a gun in your house?”, and “If you do, is it securely locked up?”

Awkward as that conversation may be, my children’s safety is the priority.

I’m curious… What questions do you ask before your children’s playdates?

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The Kids Who Should Have Been There: Sandy Hook 3 Years Later

A couple months ago, my 4th grader played a soccer game against the 4th grade Newtown, Connecticut soccer team.

Newtown, Connecticut.  Our neighbors. It’s a beautiful and charming New England town. Also the home of Sandy Hook, where one of the country’s worst mass shootings occurred. Sadly that’s how the world knows Newtown now.

Being a mother of a first grader at the time of the tragedy, and also having friends in Sandy Hook who knew many of the affected families… that day hasn’t left my mind much in the past 3 years. I have experienced so many moments of incomprehensible disbelief.  The “why’s” and “how’s” and the other thoughts are often on my mind as I watch my daughter grow up, knowing that a group of her peers weren’t able to. There are really no words though “heartbreaking” comes to mind often.

I remember my daughter’s 1st-grade class gave an end-of-the-year performance the Spring following the tragedy, and it was sandyhook-heartheartwrenching. All I thought about, watching the children in her class, was that sweet 1st-grade class in a nearby town. Stolen from their families.

That soccer game on a recent sunny September afternoon was heartbreaking once again. The Newtown 4th graders, some of the kids from Sandy Hook Elementary School, played a soccer game against my daughter’s team. I kept my sunglasses on that afternoon because I couldn’t stop the tears, thinking about the kids who should have been there that day. I felt such sadness. 20 precious children who were never given the chance to make it to 4th grade. To play with their friends, to live full lives. The unfairness of it was crushing.

So today, I want to honor those children who should have.  They should have been able to do it all, but they can’t because they were taken from this earth, far too soon.

Rest In Peace.. #SandyHookNeverForget






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16 Fun PG-Rated Ideas For Your Elf On The Shelf

Holiday season is officially here. Which means if you have children, your ELF has returned!

We’ve had an elf for the past 8 years. “Snowflake“. Named by my daughter when she was 2. Last year I lost Snowflake. I completely forgot where I had hidden him after the previous Christmas. I hunted and searched and just couldn’t find him.

So I decided to post on my town Facebook page, asking if anyone had an elf to spare. Luckily, a very nice mom replied. She said that just like me, she had lost their elf the year before and had to buy a new one, only to find the original one soon after. She offered theirs to me for free. I was so grateful since my kids were beginning to get very nervous about why the elf hadn’t returned yet.

So off I went… I picked up our new elf, hidden in a shopping bag on the other mom’s porch. I drove home feeling so happy. Planning in my head how he the elf would show up that night. Perfect!  Until, I opened the bag and discovered he had red hair and freckles and looked nothing like our elf, Snowflake. Nothing. UH OH.

So… I made up a story.  A good one. Our elf, Snowflake had an accident. He broke his leg and couldn’t fly. So Santa sent us his cousin, “Snowball“. And the kids bought the story. With not a single question.

But wait a minute….

How did this whole charade, meant solely to encourage good behavior in my kids, turn into me, the mom – LYING??????

I had no good answer to this.

In some ways, I love Elf. He does encourage the kids to behave well. In other ways, I think he is a ginormous pain in the BUTT. He drives me and most parents crazy.

So how I have decided to compensate for that, is I try to have some fun with him too. Rather than let the whole idea of the elf annoy me, he now entertains me. That’s my advice.. make the elf fun for you too.

Here are some fun (but yes, they are PG-rated) elf ideas…


1. This is what happens when Dad is in charge of the elf!






3. Just lounging.



4. “Freeze – Don’t move!”



5. Elfie, the Pimp.



6.  No caption needed for this one.






8. It was a rough night.



9. “Argh, Matey”.



10. What are you going to do now?



11.  The cookies don’t look so tasty anymore.



12. “Go home Elf, we don’t want you here!”



13. Elf is a ladies’ man.



14.  Elf on a hot date with Barbie.



15.  The Elf of doom and gloom.



16. Remember, Elf can be VERY evil if you cross him.

bad elf on the shelf


P.S. By the way, I found “Snowflake” soon after “Snowball” showed up. How I explained that to my kids… is a whole other story!

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Tips For Regulating School-Age Children’s Use Of Digital Devices (Infographic)

If your children are like mine, then they probably use electronic devices more often than you’d prefer.  My kids have Kindles, iPads, iPods, iPhones, AND laptops. I try to limit screen time, as well as try to encourage the use of educational apps, rather than letting them watch TV shows or movies on their devices. It’s not an easy thing to monitor.

The digital world in which kids are growing up now, presents many new challenges for a mom who didn’t even own a computer until she was 20!

So if you’re like me and aren’t sure how to regulate the use of digital devices by your school age children, this recent survey is very helpful. Thanks to Stop Procrastinating for sharing. Some interesting facts were uncovered as well as some very handy tips. I know I would benefit from a regularly scheduled “digital detox“, so I’m sure my kids can too!

Take a look…

parental controls
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Is “Guarding The Bathroom Door” A Chore Worthy Of Payment?

I had a rare moment of privacy in the bathroom this morning. Rare because I was alone in a bathroom, for the first time in probably 9 years. Between the kids, the dogs, the cat, and the husband… I am never alone.

My peace and quiet lasted only a minute though, interrupted by an urgent banging on the door.

I said, “Yes? What’s the emergency?”

It was my son. He yelled that I owe him $1.

One dollar, huh? “For what?”, I asked.

“For doing a chore. I am leaving you alone in the bathroom, and not letting anyone else in. So since I am helping do something for you, I earn a dollar”, he explained.

“So can you pay me now?”, he said.

Hmmm. Pretty logical for a 6-year-old. Smart too. If I was able to choose my chores, I’m pretty sure I’d pick “guarding the bathroom door for mom”, over scrubbing toilets too!

This isn’t the first time he has tried choosing easy chores. Last week he overheard me asking where my phone was, and he ran and found it and brought it to me, completely excited. I said thank you to him and he stood there, like a bellhop waiting for a tip! He then actually asked for his $1 for his “chore”!

I should add that we have a good chore system. Each kid has regular weekly chores that are their responsibility for chores2being a part of the household. No pay is given for those. But once those are completed, I give them the option of doing additional chores to earn money. $1 for each. And as you might have noticed, my son has gotten slightly carried away with trying to find more chores to do to earn money!

I’m proud he is already an entrepreneur at such a young age. But it has made me realize we may need to go back and repeat our Chores 101 class because he missed part of the point.

I think he definitely understands the “earning” part but he may need a refresher on the definition of a “chore” part.

But hey, it seems like I am not alone…


How do you handle kids’ chores in your home? Do your kids earn money for their chores?  I’d love to hear other moms’ systems for teaching kids about responsibility.


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What Does Your Super Hero Look Like?

Super heroes are so cool.

My son is at the age where he loves them and totally wants to be one. Having a super power would be awesome to him. I completely get it. I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to see through walls, jump over buildings, teleport, have super speed, breathe underwater, or fly? Any power would be so cool!

So I was super excited when I found this game by DC Kids called “Super Hero Me”. Your child can create their ultimate super hero with a fun name, look, powers and more! How awesome is that? My son loves it. The first super hero he created was the GREEN HAWK, who has the super power to FLY! He completely designed him. Check him out…


Try it for yourself, and you will see how fun it is. Click here to create your own super hero – DC Kids Games | Super Hero Me.

Also, check out some of the amazing new videos and games from Warner Bros, including favorites such as Scooby Doo & Batman Unlimited .  My son LOVES the “Shaggy Midnight Snack” game!

And, don’t forget their YouTube channels. There will be many more updates over the next year, so make sure you subscribe to their channels. I subscribed last year and find that it’s so handy for entertaining my son when he needs it (when we are out at a restaurant, waiting for the dentist, etc.)

Here are the YouTube links…

DCKids Channel

WBKids Channel

And wait! Before you create your DC Kids Super Hero, first enter this giveaway to win an amazing TOY BASKET….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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